A Skeptics Guide To Understanding the Law of Attraction
I’m not only the daughter of an astrologer but the product of a community surrounded by what I like to refer to as ‘good vibes.’ My mother and all of her free-spirited, universe-trusting friends have stressed the importance of positive thinking since I was a child. If I were ever frustrated with a school project, struggling to master my backhand in tennis or to dance through the keys of a piano, she would tell me to keep thinking I could do it, and surely I would. I didn’t know it then but I was lucky to be raised to believe in the idea of manifestation. And though as an adult, my skepticism has fostered a bit, I’ve also witnessed the wonderful effect of this approach to mindfulness.
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The parts of my life that have prospered are the ones I never doubted: becoming a journalist, traveling the world, leading a healthy life. And the ones that I have to give myself a pep talk about—like ahem, dating—have proven to be tumultuous and difficult. And despite the knowledge of positive thinking, if you ask me (especially in my darkest, wine-filled hours), I do find it a tad on the ridiculous and perhaps unbelievable side that simply believing the love of my life will appear, will make him do so in front of me.
But even so, I try to keep my spirits held high and manifest my way to harmony. It’s not easy, but it’s possible.
If you’re interested (yet skeptical) in adjusting your mindset from sarcasm to hopefulness, beginning a manifestation practice will help possibly deliver what you’ve been longing to have. Without getting too technical or whimsical, consider this your guide to help allow yourself to, well, believe a little.
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What Is Manifestation Anyway?
Another popular term for manifestation is “The Law of Attraction” which was made popular by the infamous book, The Secret. Regardless of what label you want to stick on it, the way spiritual empowerment coach and shaman John Moore explains it: To manifest means to create change in the universe in accordance with will. Or, in other words, get what you want out of life by using your body, mind and spirit. No, there isn’t any special science or candle-lighting ritual. Rather, it’s a matter of shifting your sentences to be, as if what you want, has already happened—even if it hasn’t. In my case, that might be ‘I’m so happy I found this wonderful man and we love each other so much,” even though I’m single. According to the physics of manifestation, creating this inner dialogue will not only shift how I think about love and dating but create a new sense of self that’s visible to the outward world too. And thus, potentially, drawing that dreamy man in my direction.
Is It Normal To Doubt It?
If you ask mindfulness expert and bestselling author Steve Taubman, he’ll be quick to confirm you’re not the first one to wonder about the “Law of Attraction.” In the simplest of terms, the idea behind manifestation is that with your thoughts, you can lure whatever you desire in your direction. Considering there’s not much documentation or scientific studies that can prove this is an effective measure, it could feel a lot like holding out to catch Santa on Christmas Day. “It’s logical to doubt the idea of manifestation through thought when it seems to work for some and not others or it seems to work for some areas of life and not others,” he explained.
What Will I Lose?
So you’ve been eying a raise at your company for more than a year, and you can’t seem to talk your manager into it. Or rather, you’ve given up trying. When it looks like all odds are against you, could the “Law of Attraction” actually make a difference? Honest answer? Maybe so or maybe not but what do you have to lose? Taubman advises adopting the concept is a practical stance since it’ll do nothing at worse and something at best. “Sure, you may never be able to prove that your great parking karma is the result of your remarkable powers of manifestation but subscribing to the viewpoint that it is may just make you more optimistic, open-minded and aware of your surroundings, giving you an edge over those people who pessimistically drive right past that primo spot,” he says.
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Can You See Manifestation Already In Action?
You’re likely not going to go from someone who raises an eyebrow or two at ‘energy healers’ and ‘auras’ to a person who can spout out a self-affirming mantra during meditation. And hey, that’s okay too. Taubman says to break it down slowly by pulling inspiration from your current life. Take, for example, the great parking karma: Somehow, magically, every time you pull up to a store, you get a killer spot, close to the entrance. And as this continues to happen, you might even brag about it to your friends, explaining how you always get the best parking spot. You might not believe it’s the power of the universe per se, especially if you’re a self-proclaimed skeptic, but you’re inadvertently creating good vibes around what some people might find stressful. You might look forward to picking up groceries or returning a shirt because the second you’re in the lot, you know you’ll be able to park close to your destination. What if you now applied that same philosophy to your other areas of your life?
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So How Do I Get Started?
First—and most importantly—you have to determine what you want to manifest. Is it a relationship? Or do you want a higher paycheck to make ends easier to meet? What about the healing of an old wound either physical or emotional? Whatever it is, Moore says to set a very clear intention and explore why it is you want this. This will help you understand any potential roadblocks you may have and begin to push through them. If you want a better job simply for the status or the biggest house for the bragging rights, your heart might not be aligned and you’ll need to dig deeper. Maybe it’s that you really want more genuine friends, not necessarily a larger mortgage.
Once you choose your intention, Moore says it’s time to start repeating it without any emotions and letting, well, the universe lead. He says, “Intention is the divine masculine aspect of manifesting, while receptivity reflects the divine feminine. There are a number of ways to do this, but the most important thing is to let go of attachment to outcomes. This may sound counterintuitive, but trying to control how the universe manifests is a sure way to prevent manifesting from working.”
Does this mean you just believe and wait around? Not at all. Your positive thoughts need to lead through your actions: “Many would-be manifestors take no action and see no results. Again this is the folly of expecting things to materialize. Let’s say you’re trying to manifest that perfect job but if you never apply anywhere or refuse to answer your phone when employers call, it’s not likely you’ll get that job,” he explains.
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Can You Really Let the Universe Do the Work?
Simply put, sure! But it’s hard. And as Taubman explains, it’s not an easy-peasy shift to make. But with some practice, you can begin to let go of the expectations you’ve been fostering to make room for new, happier, shinier ones.
He suggests starting with meditation (even for just five minutes) and then, find a journal and start writing. Whatever comes out, let all of it out. Even the raw, unfiltered and unedited. When it’s finally out, release it and continue moving forward, trying to maintain your new sense of manifestation. “Let go of your expectations that life should look any particular way. Instead start enjoying the surprises along the path,” he says. “As you quiet down and gain wisdom, serendipity arises, and it’s much more delightful than getting what you thought you wanted. The universe has way better ideas for you than you have for yourself.” —Lindsay Tigar
Lindsay Tigar is a lifestyle and travel journalist with a decade of experience. Her work has appeared in Travel & Leisure, Vogue, USA Today, Fast Company and others. For her full portfolio, visit lindsaytigar.com or visit her on Instagram.
Photo: Faisal Latif on Unsplash